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The Cool List: the Coolest Hotels in the Caribbean for 2024

the cool list 2024

They’re different. They’re fun, they’re colorful, they’re unique. They’re themselves. The Caribbean has no shortage of cool hotels and in this, Caribbean Journal’s 12th annual Cool List, we highlight the places that hit you in a different way, that do their own thing and make you feel inevitably, endlessly, impossibly, cool. 

From beachfront hideaways in Eleuthera to tucked-away boutiques in French St Martin, you’ll find our favorite. So how do we define “cool,” a word that always defies definition? Well, let’s just say, you know it when you see it. 

Enjoy the 2024 edition of the CJ Cool List. 

fort young
A new-look bar at the Fort Young in Dominica.

#1 Fort Young, Dominica The completely reimagined Fort Young in Dominica’s Roseau is an exciting new addition to the Caribbean hotel landcsape, where a centuries-old former fort has been transformed into a cutting-edge boutique-style getaway that oozes authenticity. There’s everything: a hip cocktail bar in a former troops’ barracks, a “rum and wine cellar,” an art gallery and an all-inclusive program that helps you dive right into the island’s local culture and environment. 

S Hotel Montego Bay, Jamaica The Montego Bay outpost of Kingston’s most popular hotel is this stunning resort in the heart of Mobay’s “Hip Strip.” An injection of new energy into the city, the S has a stunning stretch of beach, wonderfully thoughtful rooms and a unique, brilliant spa. 

aruba resorts hotels boardwalk

Boardwalk Boutique Hotel, Aruba You’ll fall in love with this place the moment you walk through the gate. A lush, tropical oasis seemingly hidden away near Aruba’s Palm Beach, this magnificently-run boutique is a collection of colorful casitas with a playful, attitude-free ambience.

all-inclusive resorts caribbean best
Los Establos’ main pool.

Los Establos Panama Set on a century-old coffee farm in the hills of Panama is this boutique resort that’s all about making adventure accessible — with a free excursion every day of your stay — and an authentic slice of a still-under-the-radar destination. 

best hotels st croix resorts
The Fred in Frederiksted.

The Fred, St Croix The Fred is the heart and soul of the new Frederiksted, helping to usher in a renaissance in this historic beach town in St Croix. The food at this Key West-meets-South Beach, adults-only hotel is outstanding, the rooms hip and bright and the vibe just plain fun. 

anguilla zemi resort
Zemi Beach House.

Zemi Beach House, Anguilla This is the coolest place to stay in Anguilla, period. From its out-of-this-world rooms to one of the Caribbean’s greatest rums bars to its marvelous Thai House Spa, Zemi manages to cultivate an enviable blend of indulgent luxury and beach house-style calm.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize The perfect amalgam of luxury resort and adventure outpost, this 23-cottage retreat has an astonishingly diverse offering that checks every box: an infinity pool, a luxury spa, an organic farm and a portal to enjoy all of Belize’s greatest adventures.

cape eleuthera

Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas This legendary resort on the southern tip of Eleuthera has just added a new hotel-within-a-hotel – a collection of toes-in-the-sand bungalows right at the ocean’s edge that have instantly become some of the most sought-after places to stay in The Bahamas. 

st kitts nassau cayman
The Sunset Reef hotel in St Kitts.

Sunset Reef, St Kitts Few hotels have been able to so effortlessly blend sustainability and luxury as this tiny boutique on the southern coast of St Kitts. They call it “luxury with no footprint.” We call it a fabulous hotel. 

coolest hotels
The pool at the Graycliff hotel in Nassau.

Graycliff, Nassau, The Bahamas The bon vivant will love this boutique hotel set in a three-hundred-year-old former pirate estate that is a gourmand’s dream, from one of the largest wine cellars on earth to an on-site cigar factory to a magical, world-class restaurant. 

sls baha mar

SLS Baha Mar, Nassau, The Bahamas The 299-room SLS Baha Mar is the modern, fun Bahamian outpost of the SLS brand, anchored by its sought-after adults-only Privilege Pool, one of the greatest scenes you’ll encounter in the whole Caribbean. 

le barth
Le Barthelemy in St Barth.

Le Barthelemy Hotel and Spa, St Barth From its lovely rooftop bar to one of the most exciting beach scenes on the island, Le Barth is a bright, breezy luxury retreat that oozes French Caribbean charm. Make sure you go for the beachfront pool suites. 

bahamas atlantis
Cove Beach at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas.

The Cove at Atlantis, Paradise Island, The Bahamas Atlantis Paradise Island’s crown jewel is this sleek, contemporary beach resort that offers some of the Caribbean’s top dining (Michael White’s Paranza and Jose Andres’ Fish) with an always-hopping pool scene, outdoor gaming tables and all of the amenities you can dream of at Atlantis. And did we mention the breathtaking beach?

secret bay green hotels
Secret Bay in Dominica.

Secret Bay, Dominica The hotel that single-handedly turned Dominica into a luxury destination has some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful villas you’ll ever lay eyes upon, with breathtaking design and a tremendous commitment to delivering authentic Dominican experiences. Even cooler? The hotel recently debuted the Caribbean’s longest funicular — at more than 300 feet long.

st thomas usvi hotel new
The rooftop deck at the new Pink Palm hotel in Charlotte Amalie.

Pink Palm, St Thomas The newest entry to St Thomas in decades is this colorful, creative 27-room boutique in the heart of newly-reinvigorated Charlotte Amalie. The rooftop pool is a particular standout.

curacao luxury hotel

Baoase Luxury Resort, Curacao Curacao’s greatest place to stay is a brilliant blend of Caribbean beach cool and Bali-style serenity, with outrageously good service and some truly stunning rooms, most with pools or outdoor jacuzzis. 

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The Hideout on Jost Van Dyke.

The Hideout, Jost Van Dyke, BVI Jost Van Dyke is usually a place people come to for the day. But this seven-villa retreat on fabulous White Bay has presented a compelling new argument to stay – and stay for a while, with a privileged perch on White Bay and villas that all come with their own private plunge pools. 

Laluna, Grenada This high-design 16-cottage Grenadian retreat is a place for wellness, reflection and delicious serenity (and some unique Italian-Caribbean fusion food that won’t disappoint). Even better? It’s actually part of Marriott’s Design Hotels collection. 

La Bougainvillea, Eleuthera, The Bahamas Equal parts villa compound and boutique resort, this well-kept secret in increasingly popular Governor’s Harbour has a marvelous setting on a pink-sand beach, a terrific oceanfront eatery and five charming suites. 

Palm Heights, Grand Cayman A decidedly different hotel for beloved Seven Mile Beach, where proprietor Gabriella Khalil has cultivated a chic, elevated, boutique vibe with all-suite luxury and comfort. 

La Plantation, St Martin Despite its abundant wonders, the French side of St Martin remains something of a mystery for many travelers — including a host of hidden-away, charming French boutique hotels like this one, with a mix of villas, suites and studios and a fantastic location just a short stroll from Orient Bay. 

caribbean hotel rum country
The Habitation Saint Charles.

Habitation Saint Charles, Guadeloupe Set among sugarcane fields on Guadeloupe’s lush island of Basse-Terre is this 31-room hideaway with a cool lagoon-style pool, a lovely restaurant and bar and the perfect location for exploring the island’s thriving rum culture.

Jakes, Jamaica If you haven’t been to Jamaica’s Treasure Beach, it’s time to discover this very different, very beautiful side of the island most famous for this creative, always-evolving mix of village, bungalows and cottages where the focus is on delivering the real Jamaica to its guests. 

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Aruba’s greenest hotel is also a flawless work of hospitality, with focused attention to just about every detail you can imagine, from a walking check-in to in-room air purifiers and, most importantly, a prime setting on Aruba’s most picturesque beach. Even better? It’s an adults-only, too. 

turks and caicos best resorts
The Dragon Cay resort on Middle Caicos.

Dragon Cay, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos The hotel calls itself the “untouched Caribbean,” and that’s exactly what you find at this tiny retreat on the magnificent, rugged island of North Caicos in the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

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