When we get caught up in the amazing decadence and unparalleled luxury offered by private island resorts in truly exotic and tropical locations like the Maldives and Fiji, we tend to forget that the Caribbean has some hidden gems that often save us travel time and money. Even the busiest islands that are packed with tourist spots are home to unheralded “secret” hotels and resorts that the savvier travelers among us don’t want the rest of the world to discover.
Just like those bucket list properties located halfway across the world, these under-the-radar Caribbean resorts also boast incredible spas, fantastic pools, amazing beaches and even world class golf courses. And they’re also available for private buyouts, which means guests can have each resort all to themselves. Privacy won’t come cheap, but you’ll see that staying at these properties is worth every penny.
Mandarin Oriental, Canouan—St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Getting to Canouan isn’t easy, which is why this small island in the Grenadines is a slice of paradise typically reserved for celebrities or people who want to feel like stars. Even without a resort buyout, this is a destination that feels ultra-exclusive, from private jet transfers to wide-open, pristine beaches that have never known the crowds of the Caribbean’s most popular locations. At the heart of it all is Mandarin Oriental, Canouan, which sits on beautiful Godahl Beach and offers myriad amenities and adventures that make it a truly ideal Caribbean buyout experience.
With 26 suites and 13 villas, this resort—the only Mandarin Oriental property in the Caribbean—offers a buyout that is fit for an extended family gathering or ultimate dream destination wedding. Think about it: luxury accommodations for everyone, four restaurants and bars, full use of the spa and fitness center and a private stretch of sand that will fill an Instagram feed with jaw-dropping selfies for weeks after the trip is over. That’s usually enough for most people, but there’s also a world-class, Jim Fazio-designed 18-hole golf course, access to great reefs for snorkeling and diving and guided hikes of Mount Royal.
But the one feature that makes a buyout at Mandarin Oriental, Canouan, not only ideal for the social distancing era but so intimate and special for meaningful events is the Castaway experience, which takes guests away from the resort to a setting that will deliver the meal of a lifetime. Newlyweds can toast champagne on a boat for breakfast, or dad can celebrate his 70th birthday with a BBQ dinner and sunset for him and his closest loved ones. The concepts are creative, and the sky is the limit.
(Please refer to the latest travel advisories from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Mandarin Oriental’s Covid-19 policy before finalizing any plans.)
Royalton Antigua—Deep Bay, Antigua
Set to reopen in November, Royalton Antigua brings the romance and style of the South Pacific and Indian Ocean to this haven for all-inclusive Caribbean luxury. Most notably, the Diamond Club’s Chairman Overwater Bungalows take a dream vacation concept and cut out the hard part of having to spend a day on an airplane, all while maximizing the aspects that make these accommodations so highly sought after. Private butler service, a swim-out infinity plunge pool, overwater hammock—this is the best way to experience Deep Bay.
Royalton Antigua’s buyout package is focused on exclusivity and extreme privacy, as guests will be pampered from the airport transfer and direct check-in to the very last moment of their stay. All the while, a personal concierge will be standing by to make sure every beautiful aspect of Deep Bay, from the nearby beach of the same name to Fort Barrington National Park, is enjoyed.
Caerula Mar Club—South Andros, Bahamas
If this lavish resort looks familiar, it is because it was featured on HGTV’s Renovation Island, which showcased the efforts of Bryan and Sarah Baemler in breathing new life into this previously abandoned property. Caerula Mar Club isn’t a sprawling resort, but it doesn’t skimp on the amenities that guests expect from a luxury property, and therefore the experience is as intimate as it is dynamic. A private buyout package allows guests to enjoy an extraordinary tropical dream vacation with all the convenience of a quick trip to the Bahamas.
Having originally opened in February, Caerula Mar Club will reopen for individual bookings on October 24, but buyouts are available now. Still new to Caribbean travelers, this resort has drawn quick praise for its simple excellence, and with 18 clubhouse suites and six villas, it can host as many as 56 guests for a thrilling affair. From bike tours of Andros and relaxing spa sessions to private helicopter tours and blue hole cave diving, all of the exclusive excitement will capped off by a nightly dinner menu that is never the same.
Baoase Luxury Resort—Willemstad, Curaçao
Inspired by the Balinese but standing on its own as a truly distinct and breathtaking property, Baoase Luxury Resort is Curaçao’s only five-star resort, which means expectations should be high. A favorite destination for A-listers—you might recognize the resort from Gabrielle Union’s Instagram feed—this resort relies on the little details for delivering an unforgettable experience.
With 23 rooms, suites and villas, the buyout package offered here is as exclusive as it gets, with a three-night minimum and a price tag that’ll certainly widen the eyes. But, yes, it’s so worth it. Up to 78 guests can stay in the various tropical pool villas, beachfront pool suites and private pool villas, and making this an amazing choice for a destination wedding is the master villa; however, no guest will be displeased by any of the unique room styles.
Outside, an infinity pool offers mesmerizing views of the Caribbean Sea, while a nearby reef provides underwater adventure in between lounging on the private beach and being spoiled by private butlers.
Royalton CHIC Punta Cana—Dominican Republic
Reopening on October 1, Royalton CHIC Punta Cana is an all-inclusive resort that is all about style, but the buyout package here focuses on the property’s truly unique and massive CHIC Mansion. The name says it all, too, as this 11,500-sq. ft. accommodation is basically a resort within a resort, highlighted by six spacious suites and wide-open living spaces that are ideal for small group activities.
What makes the Mansion so great is that it already includes the most important elements of any trip, including round-trip private airport transfers, butler service, private chef, a fully stocked bar and a private pool cabana with an attendant, so guests never have to worry about mingling with crowds. Best of all, the affordable rates make this one of the best options for a quick weekend getaway or a week of exclusivity and convenient, private pampering.
(Please refer to the latest travel advisories from the Dominican Republic and Royalton CHIC Punta Cana’s Covid-19 policies before finalizing travel plans.)