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The Caribbean Travel Awards 2023

caribbean travel 2023

If 2021 in the Caribbean was a year of recovery, 2022 has been a year of unmistakable, unprecedented rebirth. The Caribbean has never been hotter, with just about every destination nearing (or now exceeding) its pre-pandemic travel totals, and the region cementing its position as the world’s greatest warm weather destination. 

The pandemic was a lesson for the Caribbean; it reminded the region that all of its strongest assets: the beauty of its natural environment, the dynamism of its people, the vibrance of its culture, were the things travelers were seeking out — as global stress reminded all of us — and travelers worldwide –  about the things that really matter. It was also a reminder of the importance of protecting all of those assets. 

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a decade since Caribbean Journal first launched the Caribbean Travel Awards, the region’s authoritative celebration of travel excellence. And while the region has changed immensely in that time, the people and places driving the Caribbean’s tourism product have only been emboldened. Caribbean travel has never been richer, stronger or more interesting, including a truly magnificent portfolio of hotels across the Caribbean Basin. 

“The 2023 edition of the CTA celebrates honorees in 21 different categories, highlighting the hotspots, the difference makers and the reasons why we all love the Caribbean so very much, as selected by the CJ editorial staff,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal. “Congratulations to all of the winners: you have received the highest annual honors in all of Caribbean travel and your work is at the pinnacle of Caribbean excellence.”

st kitts visitors deeper

Caribbean Destination of the Year: St Kitts

Experiences. Sustainability. Community. The Natural Environment. These are some of the biggest draws for the 21st century traveler, and they form the core of St Kitts’ new tourism identity. The island has been buliding a new brand centered around its essential, authentic qualities, and, well, it’s been succeeding, with unprecedented buzz and a new prime position on the global travel radar, buoyed by a new pipeline of hotels, new airlift and a travel identity powered by its people. 

Caribbean Hotel of the Year: Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic

It isn’t just the best resort in the Dominican Republic by a wide margin. Casa de Campo just may be the most complete resort in all of the Caribbean, with an almost impossibly wide offering that extends from the best golf in the Caribbean to an exquisitely recreated 16th century Mediterranean village. Lots of resorts say they have something for everyone — Casa de Campo actually does, and with remarkably attentive, warm service, spectacular scenery and an overarching commitment to its local community. 

Small Hotel of the Year: Sweetfield Manor, Barbados

This 10-room gem, set in the heart of Barbados’ Upper Garrison Historic District, is the quintessence of the boutique hotel: endlessly charming, historic, inextricably tied to the community with an overarching focus on wellness and authenticity. From the scores of peacocks roaming the property to its bold Caribbean-fusion cuisine, it’s what the modern traveler is yearning for. 

New Hotel of the Year: ROK Hotel Kingston, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

If you haven’t been watching, the city of Kingston, Jamaica is in the midst of a full-fledged renaissance, with new energy, a thriving arts movement (led by Kingston Creative) and a new identity as the Caribbean’s next great urban travel destination. At the center is a major new addition: the ROK, a hip, sleek hotel that is helping to define the new Kingston. 

Caribbean Tourism Minister of the Year: Kenneth Bryan, Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands is already nearing its pre-pandemic tourism totals, a rather impressive feat since the destination was one of the final Caribbean destinations to reopen for tourism after the onset of the pandemic. Leading the destination’s rebirth has been Minister Bryan, who skillfully navigated the balance of public health and the economy and deftly led Cayman’s phased reopening process. Now, Cayman is on the cusp of eclipsing its all-time records in 2023, with a focused, sustainability-minded growth push spearheaded by its top tourism official. 


Caribbean Tourism Executive of the Year: Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner, US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

No Caribbean destination has seen more growth in the last three years than the US Virgin Islands, which kicked off a full-fledged tourism renaissance just after the onset of the pandemic and hasn’t looked back. And so much of that growth can be directly tied to the expert stewardship of Boschulte, who helped craft an innovative, flexible response to the challenges of the pandemic and has continued to drive the USVI’s performance with a data-driven, creative approach to modern tourism. 

Caribbean Hotelier of the Year: Shernette Crichton, Half Moon, Jamaica

It’s no easy task to run a legend, and that’s precisely what the iconic Half Moon resort in Jamaica is. But Crichton, who was named GM of Half Moon in 2019, has helped lead the resort in unprecendented times, first with the debut of Half Moon’s new Eclipse resort and through the endless challenges of the pandemic, excelling on both counts. Today, Eclipse has become one of the hemisphere’s most sought after hotels, helping to take the storied Montego Bay resort into the new age of travel. 

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Long Bay Beach in Antigua.

Caribbean Tourist Board of the Year: Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority

These awards have long celebrated individuals excelling in the stewardship. But tourism is about more than just indidivudals. It’s about teams. That’s why we are proud to add a new category to the Caribbean Travel Awards: Caribbean Tourist Board of the Year, a celebartion of a tourist board or authority setting the standard with their work. This year, it’s the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, which has so expertly navigated the changing travel landscape, leading to record-breaking tourism numbers while mastefully delivering an authentic, truly Antiguan and Barbudan, travel identity, all under the outstanding direction of CEO Colin C. James. 

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Hammock Cove in Antigua.

All-Inclusive of the Year: Hammock Cove, Antigua

The exemplar for what a Caribbean all-inclusive should be. It begins with the rooms, designed for just about every Caribbean traveler’s dream specifications, with private infinity plunge pools, wet bars and expansive sea-view decks, and continues to spectacular food, a vibrant watersports offering and even a terrific all-inclusive rum bar. Lots of hotels say they’re luxury all-inclusives. This one is that and more.

sandals curacao resort new
The new Sandals Royal Curacao.

New All-Inclusive of the Year: Sandals Royal Curacao

We’ve called it the “Sandals Effect,” the impact on an island when all-inclusive leader Sandals enters. It’s often significant, leading to new tourism energy and, most importantly, an almost instant wave of new airlift. When the sparkling new Sandals Royal Curacao debuted this summer, the impact was even broader. The Dutch Caribbean destination almost immediately began setting new records for stayover arrivals, including from the all-important US market. The resort itself is a stunner, with remarkable design, some wonderful new amenities (including a cool new dine-around option) and new concepts for the Sandals brand. 

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A suite at the Keyonna Beach Resort in Antigua.

Small All-Inclusive of the Year: Keyonna Beach Resort, Antigua

We’ve written often in these pages of the almost staggering growth in all-inclusive — as more and more brands recognize travelers’ increasing love affair with the convenience of the concept. Keyonna, the brainchild of veteran hotelier Andrew Michelin, is as much a love letter to Antigua as it is to all-inclusives, a boutique, toes-in-the-sand resort that marries locally-focused food and culture with wallet-free convenience. This win is also a testament to the destination’s unmatched portfolio of high-quality all-inclusive resorts.

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The BodyHoliday.

Wellness Hotel of the Year: BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia

It’s most famous for being the all-inclusive that comes with a spa treatment every day of your stay. But the BodyHoliday is far more than that. This venerable Saint Lucia resort, one that arguably put Saint Lucia on the map as a wellness destination, has helped redefine the Caribbean wellness resort, with a holistic, integrated approach that ranges from an annual calendar chock full of fitness and yoga events to  an impressive culinary program that marries balance and indulgence.

caribbean travel dive

Dive Resort of the Year: Fort Young Hotel and Spa, Dominica

The signature place to stay in Dominica’s fascinating capital of Roseau is a beautiful historic hotel that’s long been a favorite of both leisure and business traevlers. But it’s also something else: a world-class dive resort, with a broad dive offering that includes a stocked dive shop, a wide-ranging menu of diving options from unguided tours to regular dive boat schedules and a gateway to some of the best diving in the Caribbean.

The Delfins Beach Resort in Bonaire.

Innovative Destination of the Year: Bonaire

There’s a reason it’s been one of the hottest destinations in the region since the pandemic, but this Dutch Caribbean hotspot isn’t resting on its laurels. The island has embarked on a broad push toward sustainability and modernity, from its new streamlined visitor entry tax, one that did away with cumbersome levies on hotels and rental cars, to its completely unique Bonaire Bond, one that asks each visitor to pledge their commitment to maintaining the island’s bond to the environment and iits unique identity and people. (That’s without mentioning a cutting-edge new tourism branding effort).

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Tamarind Hills in Antigua.

Luxury Destination of the Year: Antigua

From the helicopters bringing celebrities to beach lunches at Nobu Barbuda to the growing portfolio of world class resorts in Antigua, this twin-island destination continues to grow as the essence of the upscale, elegant Caribbean hideaway. It’s also a model for the kind of vacation travelers are seeking out — with the luxury of space, of refinement, of seclusion, and sustainability. 

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Wahoo picatta at Too Chez in Christiansted.

Culinary Destination of the Year: St Croix, US Virgin Islands

Spend a week on St Croix and you’ll marvel at the sheer diversity of the island’s eateries, from Christiansted to Cane Bay to Frederiksted and everywhere in between, where farm-to-table, sustainbility and culinary creativity are a way of life. The quality is pervasive and exceptional, with a focus on locally-sourced, authentic, unforgettable food. 

st george's harbor in grenada, one of the prettiest bays in the region.

Yachting Destination of the Year: Grenada

It starts with the outstanding Port Louis Marina, but Grenada has quietly become an in-demand yachting hotspot in recent years, both for the tri-island state (including nearby Carriacou and Peitte Martinique) and for its place as an easy-to-reach hub for exploring the wonders of the islands of the Grenadines. Even better? The Moorings is here, too.

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Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Caribbean Airport of the Year: Lynden Pindling International Airport, The Bahamas

Nassau’s air hub continues to lead the pack when it comes to the Caribbean’s airports, home to great duty-free shopping, friendly and welcoming immigration, a pair of world-class departure lounges, great food and a palpable sense of cleanliness you don’t often find at airports anywhere in the world. Even better? The US departure terminal has both TSA Pre Check and Global Entry. 

Caribbean Airline of the Year: Bahamasair

Bahamasair just broke new ground with its landmark service from Raleigh to Grand Bahama, but it’s easy to forget just how broad a network the Bahamian national flag carrier now reaches, both in the United States and, even more importantly, in connecting 16 different island destinations in The Bahamas. It’s an example for what a Caribbean airline can be, with reliable, extensive service, serving both nationals and visitors equally well. 

caribbean travelers choice winners
The Brass Boer in Bonaire.

Caribbean Restaurant of the Year: Brass Boer, Bonaire

It’s no secret that Bonaire has become a heavyweight culinary destination, and Brass Boer is the crown jewel: the first Caribbean outpost of Holland’s three-Michelin-star eatery Die Librije is at the forefront of what’s possible at a Caribbean restaurant, and one of the world’s great culinary experiences. 

caribbean nassau rooftop bar

Caribbean Bar of the Year: Graycliff Sky Bar, Nassau Downtown Nassau has been changing significantly in recent years, and the new Graycliff Sky Lounge is right at the forefront: it’s a hip, sleek, energetic rooftop bar that almost certainly wouldn’t have existed downtown five or 10 years ago. Even better? It’s also home to a full humidor, a great rum selection and easily the best views in all of New Providence. 

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