Caribbean Hotels Reopening With Major Upgrades in 2018 (Video)
Plus all the beaches, bars, restaurants, and other attractions that have opened since the 2017 hurricane season.
At the end of summer 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused major destruction in parts of the Caribbean, hitting islands like the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Barbuda, St. Martin, St. Bart's, Puerto Rico, and Dominica.
A little over a year later, however, the Caribbean is quickly recovering. More than 70 percent of the islands were “unaffected by the storms,” the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) reported, and Travel Weekly adds that more than 50 percent of CHTA-member hotels have reopened as of June 2018. Likewise, the storms have not deterred visitors, as a record 30 million travelers went to the islands and spent a total of $37 billion in 2017.
While the islands that saw the most damage are getting ready to welcome back visitors, we have rounded up all the major hotels and resorts that have reopened their doors in 2018 thus far, as well as the ones that are scheduled to open later this year. To help you plan an amazing trip to the Caribbean, we have also included information on beaches, restaurants, bars, and other major attractions that you can visit during your stay.
Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla
After a months-long restoration process, Four Seasons Resort Anguilla has reopened and is celebrating with a special package for hotel guests. Book a minimum stay of five nights, and you get the fifth night free. This promotion is running from now until April 30, 2019. Opened March 23, 2018.
Belmond Cap Juluca
After spending $121 million to acquire and renovate legendary Caribbean resort Cap Juluca, Belmond is opening its newest property this fall. The luxury hotel brand teamed up with interior design firm, Rottet Studio, to create an aesthetic that honors Anguillan heritage and local nature. With an “old-world travel” meets “new world comforts” vibe, the Greco-Moorish resort promises a relaxing escape on Maundays Bay. New features include a beachfront infinity-edge pool, ‘disappearing spa,’ rustic beach bar, and a variety of restaurants. Opening November 17, 2018.
The Reef by CuisinArt
CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa is relaunching in November 2018, but you can visit its sister property in Anguilla, The Reef by CuisinArt, now. The 80-unit hotel has been “fully restored” with a refashioned open-air lobby bar and lounge, two restaurants, and beachfront landscaping, reported Travel Agent Central. The property also has new fitness class and spa treatment offerings, and the famed CuisinArt Golf Club is open to both guests of the hotel and the public. Opened April 1, 2018.
This exclusive resort, led by ownership Time Equities, has partnered with local subcontractors and consultants to restore its three villas — Antilles Pearl, Blue Diamond, and African Sapphire — and build reinforcements to prevent the hotel from sustaining potentially serious hurricane damage in the future. According to a press release, these preventative measures have included constructing additional surge wall protection and installing windows and doors that can withstand Category 5 hurricanes. Antilles Pearl villa opening November 15, 2018.
Zemi Beach House & Spa
The award-winning luxury hotel was the first on the island to open its doors after the 2017 hurricane season. Head to this boutique property on Shoal Bay Beach for a relaxing and unique day at the Thai House Spa, glass bottom kayaking, and enough Caribbean cuisine and exclusive rum to fill your days. Opened February 15, 2018.
Travelers will find that most of the bars and restaurants on Anguilla are open for business, including Johnno's, Scilly Cay, Dolce Vita, Geraud's Patisserie, Straw Hat Restaurant, Garvey's Sunshine Shack, Da'Vida, Elivis' Beach Bar, and Tasty's.
From Shoal Bay East to Meads Bay, Sandy Ground, and Little Bar, the island's 33 beaches are ready for lounging as well.
British Virgin Islands
This fall, Sir Richard Branson's 74-acre island — including its 11-bedroom Great House — will be available for Exclusive Use bookings. Couples and solo travelers who do not wish to rent the entire island can book individual rooms during one of three Celebration Weeks in October and November. In addition to all-inclusive meals, this exclusive experience offers full access to two infinity pools, two tennis courts, water sports equipment, and beautiful sandy beaches. Neighboring Moskito Island in Beach Villa and Mangrove Villa will also be available to book, while Bali Lo, Bali Kukila, and Bali Buah are scheduled to open in December. Partially opening October 2018.
Oil Nut Bay
Although the eco-luxury resort reopened in December 2017, Oil Nut Bay is debuting new attractions and amenities every month this winter. In October, guests can enjoy water sports and an open-air Pavilion that has its own bar and hot tub. November will see a brand new spa, which will have two treatment rooms, a blow dry bar, and manicure and pedicure lounges. New one-bedroom villas and a promenade — complete with an infinity pool, bar and restaurant, boutique shops, and library — are scheduled to open at Oil Nut Bay come December. The 300-acre resort also has plans to open new two-bedroom villas in 2019. Opened December 2017.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina
The 230-acre private island has opened 26 of its rooms and suites in Marina Village, and guests will have access to the other 26 in December. Six of the luxury resort's villas are also currently available to book, with an additional three opening in November. Furthermore, Ixora Spa has been upgraded to include multiple treatment rooms and a beachfront cabana, and the infinity pool and pool bar at Donovan's Beach have been newly renovated. Returning guests will also find that North Beach, the island's hidden gem, has been expanded. "With luxury accommodations, amenities and activities, guests will find that our resort has been fully returned to its original grandeur and, in some cases, greatly improved," said general manager Scott McArdle. Fully opening December 2018.
Among the bars and restaurants that have reopened are Foxy's Tamarind Bar on Jost Van Dyke, Pirates Bight on Norman Island, Hog Heaven Bar & Restaurant on Virgin Gorda, and Pusser's on Marina Cay. The Willy T Floating Bar is up and running again as well, but it is at a new location on Peter Island.
Many of the beaches in the British Virgin Islands are now open to the public, including Nail Bay, White Bay Beach, Smugglers Cove Beach, and The Baths. Cane Garden Bay is recovering from the hurricane, but visitors can still go to the beach and enjoy the bars and restaurants that have reopened in the area.
Fort Young Hotel
Fort Young Hotel has undergone renovations through the summer, and has made 41 out of its 72 rooms available for visitors to Roseau. Guests at the hotel can use the pool, waterfront bar, and in-room spa services, in addition to the hotel's new poolside bar and expanded boardwalk. “We're extremely excited to welcome guests back to Fort Young to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of the Nature Island,” said general manager Marvlyn James. Fully opening February 2019.
Guests will find Secret Bay the same "retreat enveloped in nature with pampering amenities and discrete service — but with a host of new offerings," said owner Gregor Nassief. These new offerings include a larger villa, a restaurant with "jaw-dropping views," and a wellness center with yoga and spa services. The resort's five other villas will be renovated, with private plunge pools and in-villa dining in all six. Opening November 1, 2018.
According to a Dominica tourism site, beaches that officially opened include Batibou Beach, Mero Beach, Toucari Beach, Purple Turtle Beach, and Toucari Beach. Hiking trails such as Syndicate Nature Trail and attractions like Trafalgar Falls, the Botanic Gardens, Emerald Pool, and Indian River are also open.
Scuba dive and water sport operators Cabrits Dive Center, JC Ocean Adventures, East Carib Dive, Sunset Bay Club & SeaSide Dive Center, Island Dive Operations, and Nature Island Dive are also available to take travelers on dives.
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort
After a $60 million renovation, the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is scheduled to reopen its 139 rooms and suites this fall. As part of its major redesign, the luxury resort partnered with Puerto Rican designer Nono Maldonado and Hirsch Bender Associates of San Francisco to invite a modern aesthetic that blends with the nearby ocean and tropical garden. New features include a casual dining restaurant, poolside cabanas, and lounge chairs at the pool and esplanade, as well as The Iridium Spa. There will also be new water sports equipment and activities available to guests wanting to surf, paddle board, kayak, sail, and fish. "The St. Regis Bahia Beach has always been an incredibly beautiful resort. With the new upgrades, it will be even more remarkable than it was before the 2017 hurricanes," owner John Paulson, Paulson & Co. said in a press release. The resort will also be opening an $85 million condominium residential property with beachfront views, and in the works is a $30 million expansion, which will include 60 new rooms. Opening October 29, 2018.
El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
Puerto Rico's premier luxury lifestyle property is ready to welcome back guests. “The hotel has served as the beating heart of the island since it debuted in 1958 and we're thrilled to reopen with a rejuvenated look, incomparable amenities and authentic, Puerto Rican hospitality,” said Craig Waterman, the vice president of openings & transitions at Two Roads Hospitality. While the hotel's public spaces — such as the ballrooms, spa, and fitness center — will have a “renewed appearance,” returning guests will be delighted to find that El San Juan Hotel continues to display the grandeur and elegance its best known for, and that the guestrooms, lobby ceilings, and property columns have been restored to their original design. Currently, only select guestrooms, suites, and villas are available, with limited dining options and amenities. Partially opened October 1, 2018.
Travelers to Puerto Rico can officially book a stay at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The resort's 114 guestrooms and suites have been re-imagined, and the grounds now feature 300,000 new flowers and plants. The poolside restaurant Encanto Beach Club Bar & Grill has launched an exciting new menu and the beachfront restaurant Positivo Sandbar has introduced a new Omakase & Ceviche Bar. Dorado Beach also revamped its spa with new locally-inspired treatments and a spa cuisine concept, and new cardio and weight equipment can be found at the fitness center. The resort's signature restaurant and historic villa, Su Casa, are both scheduled to reopen this December, according to a press release. Opened October 1, 2018.
According to Islands of Puerto Rico, Isla Verde Beach, Condado Beach, Flamenco Beach, Pozo de Teodoro, Isabela, La Playuela, Combate Beach, Domes Beach, Gilligan's Island, Sun Bay Beach, and Crashboat Beach are open to visitors.
Sections of El Yunque National Forest are temporarily closed, but some recreation sites and trails in the tropical rain forest are currently accessible. Many other attractions, like the Bacardi Tour and Fort San Cristóbal, have also opened.
Visitors to the island can also dine at any one of thousands of restaurants, including Comedería Fonda Urbana, Santaella, Cocina Abierta, and 1919 Restaurant, and head to bars like La Factoria and JungleBird for post-dinner drinks.
Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa
While Le Barthélemy's adjoining two Villas have been open since June 1, the rest of the hotel will completely reopen this fall. The luxury hotel has a whole host of new offerings for guests to enjoy during their Caribbean getaway, a press release said. The enhanced spa, for instance, will have hot and cold baths, a sauna, hammam, and tea salon, and the fitness center will have all new equipment. In addition to bringing its services to the beach during lunchtime, the hotel's main restaurant will be expanding its wine list and introducing a new menu as well. Le Barthélemy will also have a new beach grill, water sports and boat outings, and a rooftop bar that will host DJs and live music. Fully opening October 28, 2018.
Le Manapany Hotel
B Signature Hotels & Resorts teamed up with Parisian architect François Champsaur to rebuild and redesign the hotel's common areas and 43 rooms, reported Travel Agent Central. The new design and decor were inspired by the surrounding tropical island, while the handmade furnishings were provided by Mexican artisans, and the artwork by French artist Mayon Crayon. The renovated hotel also offers up a brand new spa with gorgeous views of the sea. Opened March 13, 2018.
Villa Marie Saint-Barth
The bungalows and villas at Villa Marie Saint-Barth are open for reservations, with two new villas added, reported Luxury Travel Advisor. Villa Saline and Villa Colombier each have two bedrooms, large living rooms and outdoor spaces, and views of the beach. Guests who stay at Villa Saline can relax in the Jacuzzi on the terrace in the midst of tropical plants, while those who book Villa Colombier will enjoy a private swimming pool, canopied beds, and a buffet table. Familiar to returning guests will be the 23 other accommodations, a fusion Caribbean-French restaurant, hotel bar and lounge, and spa with repairing and regenerating treatments. Opened March 2018.
According to Travel Weekly, all of St. Barts' 14 beaches are open, so beach goers can plan a trip to Shell, Saline, Toiny, and Petit Cul de Sac beaches for a fun and relaxing day in the sun.
A majority of the restaurants on the island are open as well, including Le Tamarin, Black Ginger, Sand Bar, Bonito St Barth, and On the Rocks.
Belair Beach Hotel
The first floor of the oceanfront resort is under reconstruction, but all other suites are open for reservation. Along with a “newly renovated and tastefully decorated restaurant,” Belair Beach Hotel has built a new pool deck for guests who want to lie pool-side all vacation long. The hotel also offers new local excursions to book, in addition to its old-time favorites. Partially opened March 17, 2018.
Divi Little Bay Beach Resort
The beachfront hotel has seen a major overhaul, and it is once again available to book. “We've worked tirelessly to get as much of the resort up and running as possible for our reopening, and we think our owners, members and guests will be very pleased with all the updates and new features which will be fully completed by the fall,” General Manager Anne-Marie Brooks told Caribbean Journal. Among the many upgrades and features are new furniture and 49-inch LED TVs in the guestrooms, new menus at the restaurant Seabreeze, a new coffee shop, and a barbecue and jerk restaurant. There is also a new water sports facility, spa, “pureocean” pool, and a game room for children. Reopened May 2018.
Belmond La Samanna
Belmond La Samanna is currently undergoing renovations and will be open to guests this winter. Overlooking a private beach, the 83 guestrooms and public spaces at the hotel have been updated with new pastel colors, and the Beach Bar is getting new lounge seating and swings. Amateur sommeliers will also be pleased to find that the hotel lays claim to the Caribbean's largest private wine and champagne cellar, according to a press release. Opening December 10, 2018.
Oyster Bay Beach Resort
The resort has been partially open since early June, and will complete the second phase of its extensive renovations by November 15. New features and amenities available to guests right now are the Infinity Pool, newly equipped gym, restaurant and bar, lobby, courtyard, and 85 renovated guestrooms. Fully opening January 15, 2019.
According to Lonely Planet, most of St. Martin's 37 beaches are welcoming visitors, including Maho Bay Beach, Orient Bay Beach, Friar's Bay Beach, and Grand Case Beach.
Considered the culinary capital of the Caribbean, St. Martin has reopened more than half of its restaurants, from L'Epicurien, Le P'tit Bistro, Café Plantation, and Alamanda Kitchen on Orient Bay to L'Auberge Gourmande, Spiga, and La Villa on Grand-Case.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
This hotel on St. Thomas is taking reservations once again. The hotel's beach bar, Iggies Beach Bar & Grill — and the beach surrounding it — have been closed for the time being, but Iggies Oasis restaurant on Bolongo Bay serves as its temporary replacement, complete with a swim up bar. The resort's catamaran, Heavenly Days, is also back in business, and seafaring guests can book snorkel trips, sunset cruises, and sailing excursions to Buck and Water Islands. Book a room at the hotel now for a 30% discount. Partially opened June 1, 2018.
All beaches, sea ports, and cruise arrivals on St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix have re-opened, the U.S. Virgin Islands website reports. With the exception of the Francis Bay boardwalk, the beaches and trails at the Virgin Islands National Park have opened as well, in addition to most of the island's other attractions and restaurants.