- Antigua + Barbuda,
- British Virgin Islands,
- Cayman Islands,
- Central + South America,
- Costa Rica,
- Grand Cayman,
No Description Available.
Xandari by the Pacific
Soneva Gili, North Male Atoll, Maldives
, North Male Atoll, Maldives
Tel: 960 664 0304
"No news, no shoes" is the stated mantra here. While high-speed broadband and wireless Internet keep guests connected, most come here to lounge by the infinity pool, swing in the romantic overwater hammock, or live out their shipwreck daydreams in one of the Robinson Crusoe villas. These seven suites, accessible only by your private rowboat and pontoon shuttle, stand alone in the shallow lagoon. Personal butlersdubbed Mr. Friday after a character in the bookimpress from arrival, asking if the boat speed is comfortable and offering to unpack your bags. The other overwater rustic-chic villas are connected to the beach via wooden walkways and have private sundecks, outdoor living rooms, and rain showers. The eco-conscious resort uses organic cotton linens and sustainable building materials, and includes the cost of carbon offsets for your in-country flight in the per-night room rate. The measures are all meant to protect the local ecosystem, including the coral reef, which teems with yellow puffer fish, stingrays, and the occasional turtle. The overwater Six Senses spa is rightly known for its healing massages and Sundari facials, but adventurous sybarites might also try Reiki, acupuncture, private yoga, or a 3- to 14-day Ayurveda program. In fact, the only intrusion on healing and relaxation at this laid-back paradise is the occasional sound of planes overhead. On-site restaurants include a sand-floor café, an underground gourmet cellar with wine and cheese tastings, and an Italian eatery in the organic garden. The most romantic option is a private meal on One Palm Island, 550 yards offshore.
Soneva Fushi by Six Senses, Baa Atoll, Maldives
Tel: 960 660 0304
Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Tel: 284 495 5555
Laurance Rockefeller's knack for channeling the future of high-end vacation travel (Mauna Kea, Hawaii; Costa Smeralda, Sardinia) is perfectly illustrated by this divine, beachy, eco-sensitive resort he founded in 1964. Now under Rosewood's umbrella (Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas; Caneel Bay, St. Thomas), it's set on an ideal half-mile, white-sand crescent bordered by palms, sea grapes, and lush gardens on one side and a coral reef on the other. A five-year renovation, completed in December 2006, refreshed the 100 rooms (including new bathrooms) and public areas, and added three-or-four-bedroom villas with private pools. Rooms have various permutations of patios and porches, outdoor showers, oversize bathrooms with soaking tubs; all have AC and sea views. A granite seaside pool is a kind of mini-Virgin Gorda Baths. Dining at Little Dix is all open-air, with contemporary Caribbean cuisine at the fancy Pavilion and Sugar Mill restaurants, and casual lunches served surfside at the Beach Grill. Much is made of the spa, which uses local plants, salts, and methods in its clifftop "treatment cottages."
Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Tel: 345 943 9000
It's impossible to miss this 365-room luxury resort on Seven Mile Beach with a seven-story tower on the sea side and a lower, larger block of bedrooms and restaurants inland on West Bay Road, bridged by a walk-through art gallery. The best views and most convenient beach access are from the ocean-side rooms, which comprise about half of the hotel inventory. All rooms are decorated in subdued pastel-color schemes and have private balconies, large marble-lined bathrooms with separate showers and bathtubs, and Wi-Fi access. A free-form swimming pool, the second-largest on the island, segues into a broad band of Seven Mile Beach where guests can lounge in canopied beach chairs, cabanas, or daybeds, check out complimentary sea kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkel gear, or rent a Hobie Cat sailboat. The concierge can easily book a sailing or diving excursion for you, but there are enough activities on campus that there's really no need to leave the property: two pools and a hopping beach bar, a state-of-the-art fitness center, Silver Rain spa, a nine-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman, and a tennis complex conceived by Nick Bollettieri. Among the several resort restaurants, the sushi purveyor Taikun and Blue by Eric Ripert are the best. The centerpiece of the children's program is Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment, an eco-adventure initiative with activities such as snorkeling Cayman's shipwrecks, kayaking a mangrove forest, stargazing, and underwater photography.—Christopher Cox
Petit St. Vincent Resort, Petit St. Vincent, St. Vincent + the Grenadines
Tel: 954 963 7401
Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis, Nevis and St. Kitts
Tel: 869 469 9325
Lapa Rios, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Tel: 506 2735 5130
Lapas Rios, the first deluxe eco-lodge to open on the Osa Peninsula, is one of the best wilderness resorts in Costa Rica, in part because of its prime perch on a ridge 350 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Reached by boardwalks above the forest floor, the 16 thatched-roof bungalows are suspended at the rainforest's edge like tree houses complete with canopy beds, spalike bathrooms, and expansive decks with amazing ocean views. Don't be surprised if you're joined by a few wild visitors while lounging outside, such as toucans, howler monkeys, three-toed sloths, and huge morpho butterflies. Animal lovers come here for rainforest hikes, bird watching, ocean kayaking, and horseback riding on deserted beaches, plus yoga classes, massages, and lazing in hammocks.—Updated by Christopher P. Baker
Hotel Punta Islita, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Tel: 506 2656 2020
Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Nevis, Nevis and St. Kitts
Charlestown, Nevis, Nevis and St. Kitts
Tel: 800 819 5053 (toll-free), Tel: 869 469 1111
The Four Seasons Nevis may be modeled on the island's traditional plantation houses, but it's still one of the most modern hotels on Nevis island, even more so now after a $120-million revamp that repaired hurricane damage and allowed the luxury resort to reopen in December 2010 after years of being shuttered to the public. The 196 guest rooms retain their British colonial elegance, with teak furniture and bright lemon-yellow accents in place of the old nautical elements; the updated bathrooms now have glass showers and oversize tubs. For the best ocean views, book the second-level rooms with their large patios. Return guests will be happy to see familiar perks in place, plus some new ones. Lemon-scented Evian spritzes cool down guests poolside, and in high season, a variety of snacks are served each hour (jerk peanuts and fresh coconut water, anyone?). Also new to the pool are four gingerbread-trimmed beach cabanas available for daily rental. When not waterside, guests are teeing off on the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr., golf course, playing tennis, or perhaps getting a rum-tonic body scrub at the spa. At night, the Mango restaurant is the place to be, for West Indian cuisine followed by a quiet nightcap at the bar. It's a familiar routine that, thankfully, the renovations haven't replaced.—Chanize Thorpe
Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Tel: 506 2696 0000
Costa Rican architect Ronald Zürcher, who cut his teeth on his brother Harold's famous and beloved Hotel Punta Islita, was responsible for the design of this flashy resort. If you prefer to experience nature with L'Occitane products in your outsize soaking tub, speedy 24-hour room service delivered to your broad balcony, and high-thread-count linens on your plush bed, this is the place for you. The resort straddles the northern extreme of the Nicoya Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the calm Bahía de Culebra on the other. But don't expect smashing views: Most of the 173 rooms are shaded by the tropical canopy. In summer, the trees thin out at the top, so opt for rooms on the upper floors for an ocean outlook. Hit the Arnold Palmer golf course or treat yourself to a Selva de Osa mud mask in the Serenity spa after dumping the kids at their own (free) club; there's even a separate program for teens. Four Seasons has four dining options, the most popular of which is the formal restaurant Di Mare, serving Italian fare.—Updated by Christopher P. Baker
Curtain Bluff, Antigua, Antigua + Barbuda
Tel: 888 289 9898 (toll-free), Tel: 268 462 8400
Howard Hulford has owned this old-money all-inclusive since 1957, and has endowed it with artifacts from his own high life, including lavish furnishings, fresh produce flown in daily by his import company, and a well-stocked wine cellar. Dining is informalalthough collared shirts are required for menand TV watching is a family affair in the hotel's communal room. The place is so chummy (and secure), there aren't even locks on the doors. Weddings are a big business here; the Hulfords will even rent out their own home for the main event. Plus, for families, 12 of the 72 rooms connect, and one of the two private beaches is reef-protectedideal for little ones. Last year they opened a 5,000-square-foot spa on a bluff over the ocean.
CuisinArt Resort & Spa, Anguilla
Tel: 264 498 2000
This beachfront hotel brings the Greek islands to the Caribbean with blue-domed, stark white villas cloaked in award-winning botanical gardens with more than 37,000 plants. CuisinArt joined the island's uber-luxury hotels (including Malliouhana and Cap Juluca) in 2000, and it's the one that has best withstood the test of time. Although its 93 generously proportioned rooms and suites are furnished in uninspired rattan and wood furniture, the marble bathrooms are grand, and the restaurants are known for their innovative healthy cuisine. The hotel grows its own vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers in the world's first resort-based hydroponic farm. The Santorini Restaurant has a Chef's Table for up to 16 guests offering regular culinary demonstrations, tastings, and wine pairings with Executive Chef Denise Carr. The poolside Cafe Mediterraneo offers an informal al fresco alternative, and spa dishes are found on all of the resort's menus. The resort is tripling the size of the full-service spa by July 2008 as well as adding six new private pool villas by the end of the year. However, a soundproof wall should minimize any unwelcome noise.
Closed September through October.
Cap Juluca, Anguilla
Tel: 264 497 6666
Cap Juluca rambles along a two-mile swath of one of the most beautiful beaches on an island known for beaches. The whitewashed Moorish architecture, with its arches, domes, and parapets, houses 72 white-tiled rooms and six pool villas, all of the tumble-out-of-your-bed-onto-the-beach variety. Rooms are big and airy, with banquettes piled with fluffy pillows, and Moorish touches such as silk carpets from the souks of Morocco. All accommodations have balconies; some units have kitchenettes, and some have private or shared pools. As with all famous respites, Cap Juluca has a following that still has a fondness for the first dozen villas, noted for their proximity to the main house and Pimms restaurant. Special favorites are the junior suites with their enormous bathrooms including sexy double bathtubs and glassed-in showers, flanked by private gardens for sunning in the buff. The hotel has always had great celebrity appeal, so don't be surprised if you see some familiar figures draped in haute beachwear and clustered around the beachfront restaurant, George's. Amenities include water sports, tennis on three courts, croquet, afternoon tea on the main house terrace, and sorbet on the beach.
Closed September through October.