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The Ultimate Caribbean Hotel Guide*

Ericka McConnell In front of a guest cottage at Kamalame Cay in the Bahamas.

Photo: Ericka McConnell

Sporty Resorts

Bitter End Yacht Club Set along the shores of Virgin Gorda’s protected North Sound, the Bitter End Yacht Club takes full advantage of the calm waters, offering sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, diving, and kite boarding. Try the yachtsman’s lifestyle by chartering a Freedom 30 and exploring the surrounding cays and inlets, some of which are only accessible by boat. At day’s end, fall asleep to the sound of waves gently lapping against the hull.

Casa de Campo For the perfect adult summer camp, look no further than this 7,000-acre playground on the DR’s southern coast. You’ll stay busy with three Pete Dye-designed golf courses, four polo fields, 13 tennis courts, a 3.1-mile jogging trail, mountain biking, skeet shooting, and an extensive roster of water sports. The 150 private villas—many with plunge pools—complete the picture.

Raffles Resort Canouan Island For many greens junkies, the golf experience reaches its zenith on the par-72, Jim Fazio-designed, Trump-owned course at Raffles’s first Caribbean resort. Wraparound sea views are the backdrop for 18 devilishly challenging holes sprinkled over beachside plains and hills that rise like a spectacular amphitheater above the bay. Even nonplayers will find plenty to love in the 156 airy guest rooms and Raffles’s famously gracious Asian-style service.

Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall Named after a spirit who is said to have haunted the region in the early 19th century, the White Witch Golf Course at the Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall rambles over 600 acres of a former sugarcane plantation. Sixteen holes face the sea, and a pair of complimentary golf concierges lug clubs, track scores, and offer tips to improve your swing. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Jasmine—the formal dining room—for Jamaican-Asian dishes in small-plate portions.

Classic Caribbean

Waterloo House Sophistication and refinement never go out of style at Waterloo—which, unlike most of its competitors, sits on a harbor rather than a beach. Polished mahogany antiques and chintz-covered upholstery in the 30 guest rooms contribute to the British tea-party atmosphere. Bermuda may have lost its edge in the fashion race in recent years, but it is poised for a roaring comeback.

Half Moon There’s timeless, and then there’s Half Moon, where Colonial Revival architecture and elegant Queen Anne-style furniture share rooms with brilliantly colored, patterned bedspreads. Think of the place not as a resort but as a small city: the 398 rooms are spread over 400 acres. Time hasn’t stopped completely at this 1954 resort—but almost.

Top Villas

The Abaco Club Owned by Peter de Savary (of Skibo Castle fame) and managed by Ritz-Carlton, this golf and bonefishing resort presides quite grandly over Abaco’s Winding Bay. Just yards from the tropical links are 20 octagon-shaped, 650-square-foot cabanas with Italian bedding, marble-topped wet bars, bamboo floors, and plasma TV’s.

Spice Island Though Hurricane Ivan leveled Spice Island in 2004, the hotel reopened the following year with 64 rebuilt suites, some as large as 1,500 square feet, done in warm spice hues. The hotel’s rooms are only steps from Grand Anse beach; guests can also relax on their private tiled decks, some of which have plunge pools.

Goldeneye Hidden on a hillside 30 minutes from Ocho Rios, Goldeneye is a low-key, high-luxe getaway that began life as the retreat of James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Goldeneye’s private beaches and nearby coves and cays can be reached via glass-bottomed boat or Jet Ski. Indulge in spicy Jamaican meals, such as classic jerk chicken; a match of midnight tennis on the floodlit courts; or, if you feel adventurous, windsurfing lessons from local boarders.


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