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Hottest Travel Destinations of 2012

Neil Selkirk / Courtesy of Petit St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

A string of 32 islands just south of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has long been an under-the-radar getaway for the jet-setting elite. But recent developments—including a $240 million airport set to open on St. Vincent next year—are making the region accessible to a broader audience. Built on volcanic black sand, the new Buccament Bay Resort (St. Vincent; 877/502-2022; doubles from $1,024, all-inclusive, three-night minimum) has 90 light-filled villas that gaze out on a secluded white-sand beach. Twenty miles south, tiny Mustique remains a playground for the likes of Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger (and was a runner-up honeymoon pick for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge). A handful of new villas are now available to rent from the Mustique Company (villas from $7,000 per week), including the four-bedroom Mimosa, a contemporary affair with a pebbled infinity pool, private chef, and dedicated utility vehicle for exploring the isle. A more affordable option is the four-bedroom Liselund, on a hillside overlooking the sea. Nearby, the 44-year-old private-island resort of Petit St. Vincent (doubles from $1,050, all-inclusive) has reopened after a top-to-bottom makeover: 22 stone-walled, thatched-roof cottages are done up in earthy tones and driftwood palapas now line the beach. There’s also a waterside restaurant and a tree-house-style spa, where an open-air hot-stone massage is the perfect end to the day. —David Swanson

The Breakdown

Who It’s For: Privacy-seeking island hoppers.

When to Go Nov.–Feb.

How to Do It: Fly into Barbados and catch a connecting flight to the islands.

Exotic Factor: Familiar/Foreign

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