Frommer's Names the Perfect Caribbean Resorts

Jade Mountain, St Lucia Jade Mountain
Few places can do luxury resorts as well as the Caribbean—and Frommer's' researchers have been to them all. We asked our experts to name the most idyllic resorts in the islands, and they came up with their dream list. We think these are some of the most gorgeous, most romantic, and most memorable hotels in the world—perfect for honeymoons, romance, or indulgent getaways.
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A couple enjoys dinner in an overwater gazebo. Petit St. Vincent
It takes about three planes and a boat to reach it, but the effort to get to Petit St. Vincent is worth it if you want total isolation and privacy. Even the staff doesn’t bother you unless you raise a flag for room service. In fact, if you're here for romance—and this private island resort is a favorite of honeymooners—you may never have to leave your stone cottage by the beach.
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The veranda/living rooms of the Petit St. Vincent resort are open to views of the ocean. Petit St. Vincent
The artfully built clubhouses and bungalows were crafted from tropical woods and local stone; the results are simultaneously rustic and lavish. Pictured is the veranda of a guest villa.
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Sailboats on the beach at Cap Juluca in Anguilla Cap Juluca
This 72-hectare (178-acre) resort looks like a Saharan Casbah, with milky domed villas that seem to float against the scrubland and azure sky. It’s an extremely stylish setting, perfect for those seeking romance. More than any other resort on Anguilla, Cap Juluca affords privacy: In their secluded villas, honeymooners (and other happy couples) can enjoy private pools and oversize tubs for two. The staff is superb and the handsome rooms and facilities are kept pristine—even the beach is impeccably groomed on a regular basis.
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Though it's in the Caribbean, Cap Juluca takes much of its design aesthetic from Morocco as you can see in this guest bedroom Cap Juluca
All guest villas and rooms are beachfront and six have private, freshwater swimming pools. On site are also: four restaurants, a golf course, a spa, tennis courts and what is (arguably) the island's loveliest beach. In summer there's a children's program.
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The villas of Rockhouse are built right to the sea cliff's edge Rockhouse Hotel
You might think the name is a reference to the musical legends—including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and reggae god Bob Marley—who first put this West End hotel on the map back in the 1970s. However, "Rockhouse" is the perfect description of the boutique resort itself: a collection of rounded stone, timber, and thatch cottages with outdoor showers strewn along the low sea cliffs on the westernmost point of Jamaica.
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A view of the Rockhouse Restaurant in Negril, Jamaica Rockhouse Hotel
The best villas—gorgeously simple cottages, really, with spare wood furnishings and canopy beds that don't distract from the beauty of the surroundings—are built right out of the rocks rising from the water’s edge, often with stone stairs down to a ladder where you can slip into the sea for a swim, and the on-site Rockhouse Restaurant (pictured) is considered one of the finest in Negril.
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A woman gazes over the landscape of Guana Island from the resort's swimming pool Guana Island
One of the most secluded hideaways in the entire Caribbean, this resort occupies a privately owned 340-hectare (840-acre) bird sanctuary with nature trails. Head here for views of rare plant and animal life and for several excellent and always uncrowded beaches (there are never more than 35 guests a night at the resort).
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A man gets an outdoor massage on Guana Island Guana Island
A guest enjoys an outdoor massage after a day of exploring. After the massage, he'll likely head to the evening cocktail hour at the resort's main house, which is followed by a candlelit dinner.
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A bird's eye view of the Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia Jade Mountain
Jade Mountain is more or less a resort within a resort—that larger resort would be Anse Chastanet—and as such enjoys the same amenities and activities as the mother ship. But those who choose the "sanctuaries" of Jade (what they call the rooms here) enjoy art-filled suites of Barbados coral and rain-forest hardwoods, with one wall nothing but air framing mossy Pitons poised against blue skies like a Corot landscape.  Children under 15 are not admitted.
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A bedroom with a view at the Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia Jade Mountain
A guestroom—whoops!—"sanctuary" at Jade Mountain. For further drama, each sanctuary is built along a forested hillside with a small but sinuous infinity pool positioned between the living space and the sea, reflecting the scenic majesty on its surface.
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Le Guanahani, St. Barts Le Guanahani
Don’t let its casual good nature fool you: Le Guanahani defines excellence, and it enjoys a spectacular situation on its own peninsula bracketed by two scenic beaches, one facing the Atlantic Ocean, the other, the Grand Cul-de-Sac Bay, overlooking Marigot Bay. The intimately scaled resort spills down a lush hillside to the water. The two restaurants—airy, alfresco Indigo and Bartolomeo—offer creative Continental cuisine. Kids are welcomed, with children’s programs and a big box of beach toys. And its on-site Spa by Clarins is first-rate, with its own good-size swimming pool.
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Le Guanahani, St. Barts Le Guanahani
Of the resort’s 67 rooms, 37 are suites—and 14 of these have private pools. Le Guanahani has several free-standing modern Creole cottages that offer space and privacy. It’s a warm, boldly conceived tropical palette that manages to avoid tropical-resort clichés.
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Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica Half Moon
Opening onto 160 hectares (395 acres) that take in a .8km (1/2-mile) stretch of white-sand beach, the Half Moon is one of the Caribbean’s grand hotels, without the snobbery of its neighbors, Round Hill or Tryall. It also has far more activities, excitement, amenities, restaurants, and a better beach. This resort, going strong since 1954, sprawls over hundreds of acres, with about a dozen tennis courts and at least four squash and/or racquetball courts. Jamaica has a strong, British-based affinity for tennis, and Half Moon keeps the tradition alive.
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Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica Half Moon
Accommodations include conventional hotel rooms, suites, and a collection of superbly accessorized private villas. (Most villas have private pools and a full-time staff.) Each unit is comfortably furnished with an English colonial/Caribbean motif and a private balcony or patio, plus a state-of-the-art bathroom. Queen Anne–inspired furniture is set off by vibrant Jamaican paintings, and many units contain mahogany four-poster beds. Half Moon is a grand and appealing place—a true luxury hideaway with taste and style, and also highly acclaimed as an eco-sensitive resort. And its restaurant, Sugar Mill, is one of the best in the Caribbean.
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Dorado Beach, Dorado, Puerto Rico Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Puerto Rico
Dorado Beach is a truly remarkable piece of paradise, with a primordial beauty to the landscape, despite the fact that the resort’s just 35 minutes from San Juan. The 1,400 acres of grounds include impressive nature trails, and all the rooms, including the restaurants, are close to the fabulous 3-mile coastline. Of the many golf courses here, Dorado East is our favorite. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., it was the site of the Senior PGA Tournament of Champions throughout the 1990s.
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Dorado Beach, Dorado, Puerto Rico Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
The rooms have all the comfort, style, and amenities you would expect from this chain, with awesome ocean views to boot. If you really want to feel like you're at one with the natural splendor of the islands, consider a room with a private plunge pool and outdoor shower. At the center of the complex is 1920s restored plantation house Su Casa, which is available for rent as a five-bedroom villa. The 5-acre Spa Botánico is a lush enclave within the resort.
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Curtain Bluff, Antigua Curtain Bluff
This serene oasis of Curtain Bluff is one of Antigua's premier resorts, with a price tag to match and enough ambience and class to make other resorts look like glorified Holiday Inns. Found 24km (15 miles) from the airport on the southwest shore, the hotel occupies the most lushly tropical section of the island, in the village of Old Road, a mango-rich hamlet where even Antiguans like to spend vacations. The property sits astride two beautiful beaches—one turbulent, the other calm. This place is for a mature America-based, old-money crowd that likes the clubby feel. It's also for tennis nuts: It's the annual site of a well-known spring tournament and the courts are set in a low-lying valley.
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Curtain Bluff, Antigua Curtain Bluff
The beautifully furnished accommodations include deluxe units with king-size beds; a terrace room with a king-size, four-poster bed; and spacious suites with two balconies. Accommodations in the newer units are more spacious, with upgraded furnishings and two double beds. The two-story suites are among the most luxurious in the Caribbean.
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Caneel Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Caneel Bay
Mega-millionaire Laurance S. Rockefeller opened Caneel Bay, the Caribbean’s first eco-resort, in 1956. It was once the Pieter Duerloo plantation, where white settlers defended themselves against a slave revolt. It’s a sprawling, lushly landscaped property, some 170 acres, with seven stunning beaches and low-rise buildings fronting the bays or set back near the tennis complex. It's a place to escape—rooms have no phones or TVs, and that's just the way we want it. The bays are a snorkeler’s dream; on Hawksnest (pictured), you are almost guaranteed to see turtles, and the clear, placid waters of Honeymoon and Scott Beach feature fish in a rainbow of hues.
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Caneel Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Caneel Bay
The room decor is thoroughly updated but feels timeless, with dreamy bedding, Indonesian wood furnishings, and vintage-style tropical fabrics. Bathrooms are fashioned with native stone. Touches like beds turned down with beautiful helmet shells left on the pillows make staying inside a constant delight. 
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Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France
New ownership by international luxury-goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton has not frozen the genuinely warm Isle de France welcome and gracious service from one of the top staffs in Caribbean hoteldom. The award-winning Cheval Blanc is a hymn to St. Barts' particular style of unstuffy elegance, and we hope it stays that way. The hotel is wonderful in every way, including location: It opens up onto the blinding white sands of Flamands Beach. The resort's main building, site of the ivory-hued reception area, restaurant, and hotel pool, has nine luxuriously outfitted (adults-only) beach rooms, each with its own patio or terrace facing the shore.
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Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France
The four one-bedroom beach suites are breathtakingly massive, each with its own infinity plunge pool, fully equipped kitchen, and big stone bathtub. The two 4,300-sq.-ft. three-bedroom Flamands villas feel like home, if home has been "done" by a world-renowned English designer in crisp eggshell pastels and kitted out with a screening room, serious artworks, and a private pool overlooking the beach. And we know it's heresy to say at a resort known for its beachside beauty, but we are smitten with the fairy-tale charm of the garden bungalows, nestled in tropical gardens of banana trees, palms, and bougainvillea.
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Rosewood Little Dix Bay Rosewood Little Dix Bay
This palace of casual elegance is mighty fine in every way. Having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, Rosewood Little Dix Bay holds a special place in the heart of many, and one big reason is the warm, insightful service from the best staff in the Virgin Islands. There is a wonderful sense of ownership by the staff, a good number of whom have worked here 20, 30, even 40 years—Little Dix is the island’s second-largest employer, after the government. Endearingly, rooms have not had keys since the resort opened in 1964—Virgin Gorda is notable for its lack of crime—although you can lock yourself in securely at night. he setting doesn’t hurt either: Little Dix is comfortably sandwiched between a half-mile of crescent beach and tropical forest. 


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Rosewood Little Dix Bay Rosewood Little Dix Bay
All of the bright, airy rooms face the beach, with private terraces that offer sea views. Trade winds breeze through wooden louvers and screens, and bathrooms are roomy and luxurious. The details matter, little touches like wooden walking sticks and complimentary bottles of rum in your room. Step outside and snorkel right off the beach; we saw hawksbill turtles chomping on seagrass and rays skimming the bottom. The Pavilion is one of the most romantic dinner spots on Virgin Gorda, serving themed buffets six nights a week.
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Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos Parrot Cay by COMO
This luxury resort is a favored retreat of celebrities, but you don’t have to be a movie star to enjoy Parrot Cay’s warm embrace and high service standards—standards that are impeccably maintained. Parrot Cay defines excellence. The resort, a compound of 10 white colonial-style buildings, lies on an isolated and private 400-hectare (988-acre) island—reputedly a former pirate’s lair—with a powdery white-sand beach. Many come to Parrot Cay for the sublime treatments in the COMO Shambhala holistic spa, the finest spa in the Caribbean, a wood pavilion wrapped in a sea of glass that looks out over the marsh wetlands.
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Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos Parrot Cay by COMO
Rooms have louvered doors that open onto terraces or verandas, oyster-white walls with tongue-and-groove paneling, and mosquito netting over four-poster beds. The spacious tiled bathrooms are beautifully appointed with a big tub and a shower, and the spa’s Invigorate toiletries. The best units are the roomy, handsome beach houses and villas, which offer utter privacy and direct access to the beach, not to mention plunge pools and hardwood verandas. Beach villas (one to three bedrooms) are even roomier, with swimming pools and kitchenettes. If this isn't your idea of Caribbean heaven, perhaps you should consider a vacation in the Arctic.
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The palm alley at the Nisbet Plantation in Nevis. David Massey
A respect for fine living prevails at this gracious estate house, set on a coconut plantation. It's only plantation hotel on the island that opens directly onto a beach—a kilometer or so (1/2 mile) of pulverized coral sand backed by palm trees (the plantation's famous corridor of palms, pictured, leads to the strand). It is the former home of Frances Nisbet, who, at the age of 22, married Lord Nelson.
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A guestroom at the Nisbet Plantation in Nevis. David Massey
The great house was rebuilt on the foundations of the original 18th-century manor house. The ruins of a circular sugar mill stand at the entrance, covered with hibiscus, bougainvillea, and poinciana. Gingerbread and fretwork-trimmed guest cottages (pictured), each with between two and four units, are set in a palm grove.
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Guests feed sharks at Fowl Cay in Great Exuma, The Bahamas. Fowl Cay Resort
Though not actually in the Caribbean, Fowl Cay makes our dream list because it has the hallmarks of the great resorts already listed in this slideshow. The waters off its docks are a crystalline blue (and, as pictured, guests may feed the non-threatening sharks that come to the pier); it offers a wonderful array of activities, from bone fishing to tennis to lounging on one of three white-sand beaches; and its staff is tremendously attentive and friendly. What's unusual here are the inclusions in the initial price: Not only are all food and drink covered, but so is use of a golf cart to get around the island and a power boat to tootle to nearby beaches and islands. Gear for fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, and a number of land-based games are also included.
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A guestroom at the Fowl Cay in Great Exumas, the Bahamas. Fowl Cay Resort
All guests are housed in 1-, 2- or 3-bedroom villas, each of which comes with a fully equipped and fully stocked kitchen (the food is also included in the price). They feature airy, bright décor and lots of floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors.
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