Whether you’re looking for a romantic private-island resort or a family-friendly all-inclusive playground, the Caribbean has a raft of new resorts waiting to welcome you this year. Start your search with these newcomers, our favorite new Caribbean resorts for 2019.
S Hotel Jamaica
The six-story structure that was formerly Breezes is now completely unrecognizable, transformed into S Hotel Jamaica, a stunning hotel that opened January 2019 with pride of place on Doctor’s Cave Beach, one of the best beaches in Jamaica.
Features include 120 modern rooms (we love the oceanview spa suite, complete with wicker-clad soaking tub), a rooftop infinity pool and two restaurants. The Irie Baths and Spa is the resort’s underground spa, with a hydrotherapy circuit fed by the reputedly mineral-rich streams that gave the beach its name.
What most impressed us: the sense of place and attention to detail in the design, which features local art, sculptures and photography; vintage island memorabilia; and even the classic paperback How To Speak Jamaican in every room.
Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
Adding to its clutch of hotels on Barbados and St Lucia, Elegant Hotels’ newest resort, Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, which opened December 2018, sits on Antigua’s northeast coast, a quick 10-minute ride from the airport.
The new Caribbean beach resort has 79 sleek rooms, suites and villas; a spa (book the ho-leaf and rosemary muscle melt massage); and an adults-only oceanfront infinity pool. Choose from either bed-and-breakfast or all-inclusive plans — either way you’ll enjoy complimentary (non-motorized) water sports, fitness classes, Wi-Fi and kids’ programming.
Jungle Bay Eco Villas, Dominica
The Nature Island bounces back this summer with the reincarnation of the former Jungle Bay hotel, rebuilt and re-branded as Jungle Bay Eco Villas since 2017’s catastrophic storms. Now relocated to the southwest Caribbean coast of the island on Morne Acouma in Soufrière, the resort will offer 60 new “eco-villas” and farm-to-table cuisine.
What hasn’t changed: owners Sam and Glenda Raphael’s commitment to the environment and their eagerness to help guests explore their island. Which means that you can plan on spending most of your time chasing waterfalls, hiking mountains and soaking in natural hot springs — exactly as your hosts would like.
Ambergris Cay, Turks and Caicos
We’re suckers for private-island resorts (who doesn’t love their compelling combo of privacy, romance and luxury?) so we’re particularly excited about the Caribbean’s latest, Ambergris Cay, in Turks and Caicos.
Hop an 18-minute flight from Providenciales (via the resort’s private plane, of course) and then touch down on the 3-mile-long island, where 10 plush, butler-serviced beachfront suites (each with private plunge pools) await.
All-inclusive rates include dining and drinks en suite and in the resort’s restaurant; water sports; use of golf carts and bikes to explore the largely undeveloped island; and a complimentary 30-minute spa treatment every day of your stay.
Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, Dominican Republic
Club Med’s first new Caribbean resort in 25 years, Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, will make its debut November 2019 in the northeast coastal town of Michès (about an hour’s drive from the airport in Punta Cana).
Designed around four themed villages, the brand’s first Exclusive Collection (five-star) all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean will have 335 rooms. There will also be adults-only areas (similar to the Zen Oasis at Club Med Punta Cana) as well as kid-specific features such as a farming program for little ones, a kids’ club, and family movie screenings under the stars.
Other features we’re excited about: the resort’s 2,000-foot-long stretch of beach, and its proximity to Salta La Jalda, the Caribbean’s tallest waterfall, and Montaña Redonda, which towers over the countryside and boasts an Instagrammable swing at its peak.
In December 2018, after more than 25 years, the spice island’s marquee beach, Grand Anse, finally welcomed a newcomer to its northern end. And the resort has quickly become the talk of the town.
The buzz centers around Silversands‘ contemporary aesthetic, a minimalist-yet-welcoming style evident in its 43 suites and five villas, each featuring local hardwood, original art and spacious terraces or balconies.
Other highlights: a more than 300-foot-long infinity pool (claimed to be the Caribbean’s longest), a rum bar with more than 180 varieties and a pair of restaurants. The spa features its own pool, an “ice cave,” and showers with customizable music and lighting.
Skylark Negril Beach Resort, Jamaica
From the team behind much-loved Negril resort Rockhouse Hotel comes an equally stylish new sister, this time on the sands of the town’s 7-mile-long beach.
Inspired by the original property’s retro feel, each of the 28 rooms at Skylark Negril Beach Resort is a study in ’60’s Jamaican style: clean-lined four-poster beds and school desks; vintage travel and music posters; and colorful rugs scattered over blonde-wood floors.
There’s no pool — they plan to add one, plus an additional 17 rooms by early 2020 — but guests are mere steps from the beach. And the restaurant, Miss Lily’s (sister to the New York City location), offers a decent jerk chicken and the perfect perch from which to take in all the comings and goings on the bustling sandy strip.
The Abidah by Accra, Barbados
Unlike destinations such as Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, Barbados doesn’t have many all-inclusive resorts. So we were happy to see The Abidah by Accra, an adults-only, all-you-can-everything hotel overlooking Enterprise Beach, make its debut late 2018. Sister to Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, the Abidah has 44 rooms, each with whirlpool tubs, complimentary Wi-Fi and his-and-hers kimonos.
There’s only one all-day restaurant, but guests can also hop the free shuttle to dine at any of Accra Beach’s four eateries, and the fish fry and street party at Oistins (walking distance away) is an absolute must on a Friday night. Need to unwind? Head to the small spa on the fourth floor, where treatments incorporate island ingredients and traditional techniques.
The Liming, Bequia
The 7-square-mile island of Bequia in St Vincent and the Grenadines may be the Caribbean’s best-kept secret. But not for much longer if the owners of newcomer The Liming have their way. They’re betting that visitors will flock to their clutch of comfy retreats — a five-bedroom mansion house, nine one- to four-bedroom villas, and a junior suite — several with private hot tubs and plunge or infinity pools.
Named for a colloquial Caribbean term that means to hang out, the petite villa resort has all the chill-out essentials, including a tranquil scallop of golden sand studded with swaying palms and a waterfront restaurant with Instagram-worthy views.
Another plus: The Liming is less than a 10-minute drive from the island’s tiny airport, so you can soak up every last drop of sunshine before you leave.
Secrets St Martin
Good news for St. Maarten and the visitors who love it: Following a $20 million renovation, what was once the Riu Palace St. Martin will reopen late this year under the Secrets flag. The resort, which sustained severe damage after 2017’s Hurricane Irma, will be the newest in the brand’s collection of adults-only all-inclusives.
At press time features were still being confirmed, but the hotel is expected to have 350 rooms (including those coveted swim-up suites) and a rooftop pool with views over the sweep of Anse Marcel and beyond to the neighboring island of Anguilla.