Five Caribbean hot spots for winter sun

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

Some of the Caribbean’s most inspired hotels and resorts fuse five-star indulgence with an introduction to the culture and environment of the island they’re a part of. Pair a luxurious stay with a discovery of the unique locale at these five standout resorts across this beautiful part of the world.

Amanera, Dominican Republic

Set on a clifftop above Playa Grande, Amanera provides a secluded retreat amid the verdant landscape and golden shores of the Dominican Republic’s appealing north coast. In this location, the Balinese-style property affords exploration of the natural environment, both on and offshore, as well as cultural connections. Trek through protected jungle reserves and dive down to underwater caves and shipwrecks. Gain insight into the herbal medicine traditions of the Taino people on a forest walk and delve into local history in Puerto Plata. The resort is made up of ocean-view casas and casitas with private pools and a panoramic ocean-view restaurant Casa Grande, where dishes inspired by local culinary traditions are served in a terraced space overlooking the beach, and the Beach Club, which is tucked into a cove of Playa Grande. The jungle-shrouded clifftop spa offers treatments that are inspired by Taino healing traditions and sporting facilities include a clifftop golf course.

Rosewood Baha Mar, Bahamas

This Rosewood retreat combining five-star luxury with Bahamian spirit, is a part of the Baha Mar resort enclave encompassing an extensive hospitality offering, among other facilities including a Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course, on the beachfront of Nassau on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas. Rosewood Baha Mar faces onto the white sand shores of Nassau’s Cable Beach, with either garden or ocean views from its rooms, suites and oceanside villas, a variety of dining spaces where culinary concepts range from French to Latin American-inspired cuisine, and Senses, A Rosewood Spa in which wellness therapies combine time-honoured healing practices with sustainable local ingredients. Baha Mar and the Rosewood hotel are a hub for Bahamian art, with art and culture experiences including a guided tour of the hotel’s exhibited artworks, an introduction to local art through tours and classes at Baha Mar’s Current Gallery and Art Center and exploration of Nassau, which is designated a UNESCO Creative City.

Jade Mountain, St Lucia

Instantly recognisable for its open-sided pool suites facing out towards St Lucia’s famous Pitons, Jade Mountain pairs a unique stone structure, in which each suite is connected to the resort by a bridge, with a privileged location amid lush vegetation on the hillside above Anse Chastanet beach on the island’s southwestern coastline. The poolside Jade Mountain Club serves the nourishing Jade Cuisine of award-winning James Beard and chef Allen Susser. More culinary insight is given through visits to the resort’s Chocolate Laboratory, where chocolate is made from the cacao of this estate’s 2,000-plus cacao trees, as well as at Emerald Farm in the Soufriere hills where organic produce is grown for the resort’s farm-to-table cuisine. Time can be spent unwinding at Kai en Ciel spa, joining complimentary yoga sessions and following hiking and biking trails at Anse Mamin. Further exploration of the island includes scuba diving expeditions, mountain biking, sunset cruises and hiking tours up Gros Piton mountain.

Carlisle Bay, Antigua

Carlisle Bay is tucked into a horseshoe cove, one of the island’s 365 beaches, on Antigua’s southern shores. A low-rise dining pavilion sits at the centre of this beachfront enclave, with white beach houses stretching out along the sand in each direction and a collection of other facilities, from tennis courts to a yoga pavilion, pool and spa sitting amid the lush gardens this beach is backed by. The island’s forested landscape rises up dramatically behind it all. Of the resort’s four restaurants, The Jetty Grill stands out for its upscale Caribbean cuisine and setting right on the sand at one end of the beach. At the resort, activities range from tennis tuition to water sports and yoga sessions, while excursions across the island include following hiking trails to spectacular viewpoints, taking a scenic helicopter ride and discovering local craftsmanship by following the Antigua Art Trail.

Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, St Barths

The French hospitality brand Cheval Blanc has made a mark on the jet-set French West Indies island of Saint Barthelemy with the creation of its ultra-chic maison on Flamands Bay. Notably, Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France is the only hotel in the Caribbean with Palace distinction. Jacques Grange designed the property to reflect its place on St Barth and Madison Cox designed the gardens. Acclaimed artist Jean-Michel Othoniel created a constellation-inspired art installation for the entrance. Stylish suites are dotted across the coastal hillside and throughout the resort’s lush tropical gardens and this accommodation is joined by two beachside restaurants, including the beach restaurant La Cabane and La Case offering Caribbean fine dining plates in space with tableware designed especially for the chef by Dior. Relaxation is found in the garden-shrouded Cheval Blanc Spa. Explore the island from here in one of the hotel’s Mini Mokes and take to the water on a sunset sail.

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