Each island has its own personality, with hints of its European past mixed with traditions of local culture. Sun worshippers are tempted by sugary sands and turquoise seas, while explorers discover lush tropical forests and a rainbow of reefs. The accommodations are just as spectacular, from oceanfront views to luxurious rooms. The following resorts, villas and hotels are among the Caribbean’s most sought-after and are destinations in themselves.
Antigua’s coastline glistens like a bright diamond, with 365 dazzling-white beaches surrounded by seas of azure and a coral reef that is a diver’s dream. Elegant hotels dot this island sanctuary and provide guests every luxury.
BARBADOS Benefitting from its British and West Indian traditions, Barbados offers guests the best of both cultures, from its afternoon tea and lively cricket matches to its festive street life and spicy local cuisine.
BARBADOS PLACES TO STAY Turtle Beach Resort Barbados – www.eleganthotels.com
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC With its mountainous rainforests, breathtaking beaches and world-famous resort complexes, Dominican Republic is a holiday playground for Europeans, but Americans are catching on to its charms. Here Spanish is not just the language but a state a mind that embraces meringue, latenight dinners and siestas under the sun.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC PLACES TO STAY Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa – www.lifestylehaciendaresorts.com Dreams Resorts & Spas – www.dreamsresorts.com Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa – www.dreamsresorts.com/drepc/ Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana – http://www.dreamsresorts.com/drepb/index.html Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa – www.dreamsresorts.com/drelr/
Known as the Honeymoon Capital of the Caribbean, Aruba provides the ultimate romantic setting, with year-round great weather, cooling trade winds, silky white sand beaches and posh resorts that cater to newlyweds and those who still act like newlyweds. ARUBA PLACES TO STAY Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort – www.AmsterdamManor.com/Islands Aruba Bucuti Beach Resort & Tara Beach Suites – www.bucuti.com Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa – www.radisson.com/aruba
GRENADA With its soft white sands, turquoise waters and fertile forests perfumed with frangipani and nutmeg, Grenada is the Caribbean’s Garden of Eden. Grenada is a delight to the senses and draws those who wish to feel relaxed and reenergized.
JAMAICA Home of Bob Marley, Rastafarians and reggae, Jamaica is a music mecca and so much more. Approximately the size of Connecticut, this island paradise is comprised of magnificent mountains and waterfalls surrounded by a ring of sandy beaches.
ST. MARTIN/ST. MAARTEN
Each side of this intriguing island has a distinct personality. Lively Dutch Sint Maarten entertains tourists day and night with bountiful beaches, water sports, ritzy nightclubs and casinos. Its French neighbor, St. Martin, is more subdued and formal, with secluded beaches, the finest French restaurants, high-end shopping and lavish accommodations. ST. MARTIN/ST. MAARTEN PLACES TO STAY Radisson St Martin Resort, Marina & Spa – www.radisson.com/stmartin
CRUISING For those who wish to visit more than one Caribbean island, consider a Star Clippers cruise, which visits ports that are untouched by larger cruise ships. CRUISING PLACES TO STAY Royal Clipper – www.starclippers.com