From Jamaica to the Dominican Republic, the Best Golf and Spa Resorts
A majority of luxury resorts in the Caribbean offer spa services; far fewer have golf courses, and the list of resorts with both great golf and top-notch spas is shorter still. For many couples, though, these kinds of resorts can be the perfect blend of indulgence and wellness, activity and relaxation.
Couples looking to work on their golf stroke as well as getting some relaxing strokes in at the spa would do well to pack their clubs for these great Caribbean resorts. Here are our favorite golf-and-spa resorts in the Caribbean.
Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic
The Teeth of the Dog and Dye Fore golf courses at Casa de Campo are perhaps the most famous names in Caribbean golf. Both are Pete Dye designs but with very different aspects: the 18-hole Teeth of the Dog plays along the edge of the Caribbean Sea, whereas Dye Fore has 27 holes in total, including five with drops over 300-foot cliffs. The Links, another Dye design, offers a challenging yet eminently playable layout. The 18,000-square-foot resort spa offers exotic services like JetPeel facials and binaural acoustic and dynamic stimulation — a form of guided meditation employing music and vibration — alongside a more typical menu of massages and other body treatments.
Half Moon, Jamaica
A favorite of visiting royalty, the Half Moon resort in Montego Bay has been challenging and charming golfers since 1962. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the course plays over the grounds of a former sugarcane estate; the Sugar Mill restaurant testifies to the history while offering both a romantic setting and fine dining. Fern Tree, a Salamander Spa has a spa garden with a pool and waterfall, aromatherapy steam and sauna rooms, body treatments incorporating local herbs, spices, and fruit, and a Rastafarian inspired Ital Cafe serving vegetarian food and natural fruit juices.
Baha Mar, Bahamas
Why gamble at the casino when you can try your luck (and skill) at the Baha Mar resort’s Royal Blue golf course? A Jack Nicklaus Signature course, Royal Blue’s 18 holes are laid out in the shadow of the resort’s hotel towers and amid sand dunes and natural limestone formations. At the end of the day, Baha Mar has two spas standing ready to ease any accumulated aches: the only ESPA in the Caribbean overlooks the ocean, while treatments at the Sense spa at the Rosewood resort include exclusive scalp treatments designed by Miriam Quevedo.
Sanctuary Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The par 72, Jack Nicklaus designed Punta Espada Golf Course is a centerpiece of the Cap Cana resort community; the oceanfront course, site of PGA tournaments, is often ranked as tops in the Caribbean. Among the seven resorts at Cap Cana, the Sanctuary Spa at the Sanctuary Cap Cana is the best retreat for couples relaxation with its village-like setting and extensive treatment menus.
Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Puerto Rico
Originally opened as a hotel by Laurence Rockefeller, Dorado Beach oozes luxury, and the golf here is no exception. The Sugarcane Course is the more challenging of the resort’s two golf courses, but the Robert Trent Jones designed East Course is no slouch, either, as the ball marks on the trunks of trees lining the fairways will attest. The Spa Botanico lives up to its name with lush grounds — including a pineapple garden — surrounding treatment rooms and a very private waterfall plunge pool.
Your foursome may become a more some if you get paid a visit by the green monkeys who inhabit the golf course at this beachfront resort in Nevis. Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, the 18-hole, par-71 course slopes gently downhill towards the ocean. The signature Nevisian Massage is thankfully monkey-free but does employ a variety of soothing local spices.
Puntacana Resort and Club, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Corales Golf Course at the Puntancana Club only reinforces the notion that the Dominican Republic is the golf capital of the Caribbean. Designed by Tom Fazio, the course has six oceanside holes among its 18. The La Cana Course is, if anything, even more scenic, with 14 ocean-view holes on a 27-hole layout designed by P.B. Dye. The club is home to the only Six Senses Spa in the Caribbean and offers treatments that blend traditional touch and wellness science. You can stay at either the Tortuga Bay resort or the Westin Puntacana.
Sandy Lane, Barbados
Rocky cliffs undulate among the greens and fairways of the Green Monkey, one of three golf courses gracing this icon of Caribbean luxury accommodations in Barbados. The course is about as exclusive as golf gets: just 10 tee times are available each day. If you don’t snare one, there’s ample consolation to be had at the lake-dotted, Tom Fazio designed Country Club at Sandy Lane championship course and the venerable Old Nine, which weaves among groves of mahogany trees. The exquisite Spa at Sandy Lane has 47,000 square feet devoted to treatment rooms, fitness facilities, and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas.
This luxury resort has Anguilla’s only golf course — two of them, in fact. The Aurora International Golf Club features 18 holes that run alongside beaches, challenge golfers to make a par 5 on a 600-yard layout, and ends with a mandatory shot over a salt pond. The Greg Norman designed Avalon Links short course, with nine compact holes, is designed for quick play and makes for a nice warmup for a day on the main course. The Sorana Spa augments treatment rooms and a fitness center with a steam room, sauna, and hydrotherapy course.